Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Friday, September 22, 2017


Attention Matthew West fans! The wait is over, and his new CD, All In is here! I was over the moon to have the opportunity to receive a copy of this album, in exchange for my honest opinion.
I confess that I stalked my mailbox for days, in anticipation of its arrival. The day of delivery had my 11 year old (and me) cheering. We wasted no time in getting it in the CD player, and held our breath as the first notes filled the room.

Before I tell you what we think of Mr. West's new project, here's a little "behind the scenes" blurb regarding his thoughts about this work:

Matthew’s heart behind the album:
Matthew wrote his new album All In with the goal of encouraging himself and others to
get up off the sidelines of their faith and really live it out – to go all in in your time with
God, all in with your family, all in with your community, and all in battling your fears that
may hold you back from becoming who God made you to be. Along that same theme,
Matthew will be launching a 6-week All in Challenge on his social media starting 9/18,
and each week Matthew will be challenging his fans to go all in in a different part of their
lives. What does it look like when a heart that knows Jesus takes a step and holds
nothing back? How can we go All In in the places that mean the most?

Social Corner:

Broken Things (story behind the song):

All In (Story Behind The Song):

Buy Link:Buy Link:

HashTags to use: #ALLIN & #FlyBy

Alright, I'm back. So, after listening to this album quite a few times, the verdict is...

Fantastic! It's fantastic! I am always amazed at the talent of a recording artist like Matthew West. How is it that he can put out album after album, with each one being not only great to listen to, but spiritually meaningful? There are the faster paced songs like the title song, All In, that motivate you to turn up the volume LOUD, and songs like the 4th track, Amen, that have you ready to jump out of your seat and dance.
Mercy Is A Song is one of the slower songs that resonates with me. The melody is beautiful, the lyrics are simple but powerful, and the message is, well, Hope.

This album also features Matthew West's daughter, Lulu, on a couple of songs. She has a lovely voice too! And speaking of daughters, I'm thrilled that this is an album that my kids love to listen to with me. He reaches across the age boundary, and appeals to young and old(er).

My daughter wholeheartedly agrees with me, this album gets our seal of approval. We'll be listening to this one for a long time to come.

Now, would YOU like to receive a FREE copy of your very own? There is a copy available for one lucky reader!

All you need to do is 1.) Follow me here on my blog, and 2.) Comment on this post, and leave your name and email address so I can contact you.
One person will be chosen randomly on Friday, September 29, 2017.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Friday, June 30, 2017

The NIV kids' visual Study Bible

        "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." ~ 3 John 1:4

This, this verse above says it all. As a Christian parent, my highest desire is that my daughters would cultivate a growing, fervent love for the Lord.

I am so far from perfect, and I fail more than I would like, but I do try to use those times to point out my (and every person's) desperate need for Jesus. It is a humbling thing to know that your kids are watching you, modeling your behavior, good and bad. There are many ways that a parent, guardian, teacher, etc., may encourage a child in his or her walk with Christ. One of those ways relates to their devotional, or quiet time, reading the Bible. It should go without saying, that studying, and meditating on the Word of God, is vital to our spiritual health.
For this reason, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review the NIV kids' visual Study Bible. (I received a free copy of this Book in exchange for an honest opinion.)

For about a week or so prior to hearing about this review, my 11 year old had been talking about her need for a new Bible, having outgrown her current one that is written for younger ages.
Needless to say, she was over the moon with happiness to help in the evaluation process.

So, let's talk about this Bible!
First, a general overview. The NIV kid's visual study Bible is designed for kids aged 8-12 years old. This is a lovely, colorful version with over 700 photographs. Each book features a quick introduction with key facts, and photos. Every page has a yellow sidebar, with illustrations, and study notes about various Scriptures. There is also a handy ribbon attached, to easily bookmark a place. You'll also find an index to maps.
While the target demographic for this Bible is the pre-teen/tween set, it is the same NIV translation made for adults. Nothing watered down. 

How about a few photos?

I like this Bible! I love study notes, colorful pages, and miscellaneous information that takes me deeper into the Word. Those aspects are effective in drawing in the reader, and making Scripture come alive.

My daughter spent plenty of time using this Bible, and she was happy to offer her list of pros and cons.

The positives:

She found the extra features informative, and interesting. She liked the photos and illustrations, as well as the sidebar study notes. The sidebar also provides room to take notes during personal reading, and while listening to sermons at church.

The not so positives:

The list for the cons is small. In fact there are only two. The first, relates to font size. It's pretty small, and can feel like it's necessary to strain to read at times.
The other concerns the sidebars. They appear on every page, although not every sidebar has any text at all. While that does leave extra room for taking notes, my daughter felt that it created wasted space, and that perhaps if they were not there, the text could have been printed in a larger font.

Her final rating? 4.5 out of 5 stars. I agree completely. Great Bible, great version. Two thumbs up, check it out!

NIV kids' visual study Bible

Published by Zondervan

Find it on Amazon right now for $21.26

Find it at Barnes and Noble for $21.99

Friday, January 3, 2014


I remember being a young girl, playing at a neighbor friend's house, and learning how to fingerknit. It was the neatest thing! No knitting needles, or other tools necessary, just a skein of yarn, and your hand.
I had shared this activity with my daughters, and today, my eldest requested that I teach her how to fingerknit. Maybe this will come to be a fun activity to share with your daughter(s) as well.

All you need is yarn and scissors.

Step 1.) First, take a small piece of yarn and rest it between your thumb and forefinger. You'll use this piece to tighten your chain as you go.

Step 2.) Wind the yarn behind the forefinger, in front of the middle finger, behind the ring finger, and in front of the pinky. Reverse the process, and wind the yarn behind the pinky, in front of the ring finger, behind the middle finger, and in front of the forefinger. You should now have 2 loops on each finger.

Step 3.) Beginning with the pinky finger, take the bottom loop, and pull it over and behind the finger. Continue with the rest of the loops.

Take the yarn and wind it around the fingers again, as in step 2. Repeat the looping over the fingers.
Make a chain as long as you like! When finished, cut an end from the yarn, leaving several inches. With the end of the yarn, loop it through the loops on each finger, beginning with the pinky. This time, as you loop it through each finger, pull each loop off the finger. Tighten it as necessary. Fun! Use these to make cute little belts, or scarves for your dolls.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Intentional Joy

One of our kids has a very cute way of answering in the affirmative when asked a question. "Do you want to get something to eat. Almost every time, if answering yes, she'll say, "Uh. . .yeah. Okay, well you have to be there, cause it IS cute ;)

My husband and I were wondering aloud where in the world she had picked up the habit of saying it that way. Today, we got the answer. He asked me if I knew where a certain coupon was, and I answered, "Uh. . .yeah. We had a laugh over that, but later on in the day, I was wondering about other possible habits that the kids may have learned from my example, both good and bad.

Sometimes, when I listen to them, I smile to myself, and yes, even pat myself on the back, when I hear my words coming out of their mouth as they speak sweetly to another child, or offer an encouraging word to each other. Then there are the times that I cringe when I hear, yes, my words, in a sharp tone, a critical attitude, or a downright ugly response. They learn by example, and I'm sobered as I realize that my time with them is fleeting. In a few more years' time, they'll be preparing to make a life on their own, and what lessons from me will they take with them?

I have noticed that my joy has been largely missing these days. I suppose it might be attributed to what the Bible calls the cares of this life. At any rate, I seem to have lost my smile, my laughter, my fun. It hasn't been lost on me, what effect that has on my children. I don't want them to look back on these years and see a cranky, exhausted mom who was a stick in the mud.

So what to do? I guess that this relate to my last post about my chosen word for the year 2014. I will be Intentional in finding joy. The truth is, I have much to be joyful about in my life. Let me clarify, joyful, not mere happiness. Happiness often relies on circumstance, whereas joy is in the spirit, full of hope regardless of the external. And I know that there are many things for me to be joyful for.

Look out 2014, there's a new attitude coming your way!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Word of the Year

You may have seen this topic floating around over the past few weeks, The Word of the Year. It may mean different things to different people, but I think it's a way to kind of focus on specific areas of your life. I had a word for 2013, and now that 2014 is upon us, I'm ready for my new one.

So, this year, my word will be Intentional. It applies to many areas of my life, and captures what I hope to accomplish, or at least strive to, in these next 12 months.
These are the areas that have come to my mind in applying the word, although there may be more as the year moves on. . .

Intentional in:

My prayer life. This is my biggest one. I want to be diligent in seeking God in prayer this year.

My  Bible study. Next biggest one. I can't grow closer to God if I'm not consistently in His Word.

My eating habits. This is a toughie. I strongly desire to kick my sugar habit!

Exercise. I know I feel better when I'm in a routine, it's getting started that's so difficult for me.

Cultivating and maintaining the friendships in my life.

Being joyful! This is so hard for my curmudgeon kind of personality. I'm a half empty gal, and I want to reverse that. I know I have much to be joyful over!

Taking every thought captive. Garbage in, garbage out. Focus on the positive.

As I said, I may add more, although there is plenty for me to work through right here! Do you have a word for the year?

Friday, December 27, 2013

So, we made it through Christmas, and the new year arrives in less than a week. I'm thinking about the same thing that I do pretty much every year at this time- sugar detox. I fell for the lure of the many holiday goodies that tempted me from the covers of magazines, the shelves of the stores, and bakeries. Sugar, everywhere.

What reminds me that now is the time that I should grab a salad instead, is the annual push that can be found in those same magazines and stores. Replacing the sweets are energy bars, large containers of whey protein, and exercise equipment that feature photos of young, lean, athletic people and their rock hard abs.

You can say what you like, but there is not a doubt in my mind that sugar is a drug, and I am an addict. Who can blame me? It goes down so easily. It seems like a harmless vice. But I know it's not true, and I'm feeling the effects of it on my body, and not only as it relates to my jeans size. You would think that the answer is to simply put the candy bar down. But it goes deeper than willpower. It's an emotional thing. And when I' happy, sad, mad, or glad, I want the sugar.

Well. it has to stop. It will catch up with me, and I want to be in the best health that I can for my family, as well as myself.
I'm determined, but at the same time, I'm kind of dragging myself, kicking and screaming.

So with much prayer, I'm taking the first step. Pulling out my  beat the sugar addiction types of books and such. I figure that if I start now, I have a jump on things before the official New Year begins. And by then, I'll already be nearly a week ahead. So here I go, let's do this!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday Foster Minute

When you decide to become a foster parent, you bring a child into your home, and do your best to provide them with a stable family. You want them to feel the love and belonging that a healthy family can provide.

There are constant reminders that this child does not belong to you. The many hoops that need to be jumped through, the constant need to get permission for anything from a medical procedure, field trip, and even a haircut, are all reminders of this fact.
Still, we are the ones who are in the trenches. We are the ones cooling a forehead hot with fever. We are the ones drying tears. We are the ones dealing with teething, potty training, tummy bugs, and tantrums.

On the flip side, we also bear witness to the many good things. The milestones, first steps, first teeth, first words. There are sloppy toddler kisses. We become the only one who will do when they need to be soothed. We are the ones who know that child. What their favorite fruit is. What makes them giggle with sweet abandon. What frightens them. What comforts them.

I don't say any of this to be judgmental on birth parents, or the system for that matter. I don't say this to imply that I have a claim on any child that is placed with us.

I say these things as a reminder that this, this foster experience, it's a privilege. It's a gift to be the one to experience life with these children. To be that safe place for them to grow, and to just be a kid.
There is enough that is hard about all of this, and it's good to step back once in a while and remember what we're doing this for.
These kids are with us for a lot of reasons. I frequently think about the fact that the birth parents miss so many ordinary moments, and it makes me sad.
Because of that, I don't want to forget how important the daily, seemingly mundane parts of life are actually important. And it makes me want to do this foster parenting, and biological parenting better each day.